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Major League Soccer | Gameweek 29
Sep 4, 2021 at 12.30am UK
Nissan Stadium
New York City

3 - 1
NY City

Williams (30', 68'), Latinovich (32' og.)
Muyl (71'), Williams (73'), Haakenson (89')
McCarty (45')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Castellanos (90')
Medina (38'), Castellanos (64'), Acevedo (73')

Preview: Nashville SC vs. New York City FC - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Major League Soccer clash between Nashville SC and New York City FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

New York City FC have an opportunity to move further up the MLS Eastern Conference standings when they travel to the music city on Friday to face Nashville SC at Toyota Stadium.

This will be the first-ever meeting between these two sides, with the Black-and-Gold only a point above New York in the table but having played one more game.

Match preview

Nashville SC midfielder Randall Leal celebrates scoring on May 24, 2021© Reuters

Last weekend, Nashville wrapped up the month of August with another strong bounce-back effort, defeating Atlanta United 2-0 thanks to an injury-time goal in each half.

It was an emotionally charged match for Gary Smith and his team to not only defeat their biggest rivals but to see their leading goalscorer Daniel Rios return to the starting 11 for the first time this year and score the winning goal.

They have to be feeling good about collecting their first road win of this campaign, not to mention putting an end to the Five Stripes' four-game winning streak, holding them to only two shots on target, despite having only 38% possession.

Smith believes that this group are starting to develop an environment and a culture that can be sustainable, and it is hard to argue that, given that they are in a position to earn a home playoff game, having lost the fewest games of any side in MLS (two).

Defensively they have come a long way since the start of the year, only allowing multiple goals in three matches since July, but with 34 goals scored so far, they have developed a formidable attack that can make you pay for your mistakes.

Heading into the stretch run of the season, we will have a good idea of what kind of character this team can show, with six of their next seven fixtures taking place on the road, following this game on Friday.

New York City FC forward Valentin Castellanos (11) celebrates a goal by forward Santiago Rodriguez (not pictured) against Toronto FC with defender Malte Amundsen (12) and forward Thiago (8) during the first half at BMO Field on August 7, 2021© Reuters

Another side that have to be brimming with confidence at the moment would be New York City FC, who blanked the league-leading New England Revolution 2-0 last weekend, holding the highest-scoring team in MLS to just a single shot on target.

Like Nashville, Ronny Deila has always seen his side bounce back from a defeat, losing consecutive matches only once all season, and they showed a lot of poise last weekend against the hottest team in the league.

New York are successful when they can come at you in waves with non-stop attacks, and they were able to do that successfully against the Revs, throwing them out of their rhythm and holding them to a pass accuracy below 80%.

The Boys in Blue seem to be getting better every week, while some delightful link-up combinations which made all the difference in their victory last Saturday.

First place may be out of reach for the time being, but New York are nicely positioned among the other six Eastern Conference teams currently holding down a playoff spot, having played the fewest amount of games and also having the best goal difference in the conference at the moment, at +17.

The Pigeons have rarely conceded at home, collecting six clean sheets, but lately, it has been the complete opposite on the road, going goalless in two of their last three fixtures.

Nashville SC Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

New York City FC Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

New York City FC form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith directs his team against the Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on 15 May, 2021© Reuters

The World Cup 2022 qualifying schedule comes at a very inopportune time for the Black-and-Gold, who will be missing several key figures to their side, including Anibal Godoy, Alistair Johnston, Randall Leal and Walker Zimmerman, who have all been called up for Panama, Canada, Costa Rica and the United States in final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

Handwalla Bwana is out with a concussion, while Dax McCarty and Matt LaGrassa are likely to miss again due to health and safety protocols.

Nashville have developed quite the three-headed monster in attack this season, with Hany Mukhtar leading the way with 15 combined goals (eight goals, seven assists), Randall Leal has three goals and three assists and is leading the team in passes in the attacking zone, while newcomer CJ Sapong who has nine goals to go along with three assists and has provided a solid aerial attack with four headed goals.

Valentin Castellanos has been carrying the Pigeons on his shoulders lately, scoring the last five goals for his club while combining brilliantly last weekend with Maxi Moralez and Jesus Medina to provide fans with some breathtaking football.

The Pigeons will be missing Alexander Callens, who has been called up for the Peruvian national team for their upcoming World Cup qualifier, Maxime Chanot is on international duty with Luxembourg and James Sands will hope to help the Americans return to the finals.

New York have loaned forward Alexandru Mitrita to PAOK FC in Greece, and Heber remains on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Nashville SC possible starting lineup:
Willis; Washington, Romney, Miller, Lovitz; Muyl, Anunga, Haakenson, Mukhtar; Sapong, Rios

New York City FC possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Tinnerholm, Gray, Amundsen, Thorarinsson; Morales, Parks; Medina, Moralez, Rodriguez; Castellanos

SM words green background

We say: Nashville SC 1-1 New York City FC

Nashville have yet to lose at Nissan Stadium this year, and despite being tested throughout the season, they have usually been able to come away with points.

Even though Castellanos has been carrying the offence lately for the Pigeons, this is a team with various threats, although they struggled on the road going winless in their last five fixtures.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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Data Analysis

Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats up until an hour before kickoff, suggested the most likely outcome of this match was a Nashville SC win with a probability of 37.39%. A win for New York City FC had a probability of 35.98% and a draw had a probability of 26.6%.

The most likely scoreline for a Nashville SC win was 1-0 with a probability of 10.01%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome were 2-1 (8.2%) and 2-0 (6.48%). The likeliest New York City FC win was 0-1 (9.78%), while for a drawn scoreline it was 1-1 (12.66%). The actual scoreline of 3-1 was predicted with a 3.5% likelihood. Our data analysis correctly predicted that Nashville SC would win this match.

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Game History

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Group A

Q Germany Germany22006
2 Switzerland Switzerland21104
3 Scotland flag Scotland20111
4 Hungary Hungary20020

Group B

1 Spain Spain11003
2 Italy Italy11003
3 Albania national flag Albania20111
4 Croatia Croatia20111

Group C

1 England flag England11003
2 Denmark Denmark10101
3 Slovenia Slovenia10101
4 Serbia Serbia10010

Group D

1 Netherlands Netherlands11003
2 France France11003
3 Poland Poland10010
4 Austria Austria10010

Group E

1 Romania Romania11003
2 Slovakia Slovakia11003
3 Belgium Belgium10010
4 Ukraine Ukraine10010

Group F

1 Turkey Turkey11003
2 Portugal Portugal11003
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic10010
4 Georgia Georgia10010

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